Squash club aiming to introduce younger players to sport here

The local squash club is looking to attract more younger players to its sport this winter by offering several programs for school-aged kids.
“We’d like to try and get as many young players, as young as nine or 10, to come out and learn to play the game and get the game in their blood to develop a good basis,” said Bob Tkachuk, who along with his wife, Mary Beth, will serve as instructors.
“But at the same time, we like to feed them to play other sports as well,” he added. “Squash doesn’t have to be a 12-month-a-year sport. We don’t want them to train just for squash.”
Last Saturday, the club held a “newcomers” clinic for those aged nine to 12 with no previous squash experience, which will be followed up with a beginners’ program for the same group once a week until Christmas.
An orientation clinic for intermediate players was held later Saturday, which was mandatory for all players to advance into a league here.
“Basically we’re trying to keep the game going in Fort Frances because Bob and I didn’t start the game until we were older,” noted Mary Beth Tkachuk, a certified Technical Level I instructor like her husband.
“The game here is going pretty steady. We have a good mix of players because not everyone wants to play in tournaments,” she added. “Some just want to play recreational.”
Meanwhile, high-school aged players are being targeted again this winter.
“Last year, the [high school] kids showed responsibility and ran the league on their own and we would intervene on occasion to help them out,” noted Bob Tkachuk, adding eight to 10 players came out to play on a regular basis.
Those in the high school league play games each Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-5:10 p.m. beginning Oct. 1. The fee is $5 plus the daily admittance, and registration is required to play.
Players also must bring their own equipment.
Because the league is limited to about 10 players, Tkachuk said those interested should register as early as possible, expecting about the same number as last year.
“This year, we had a few move away for school but we also have a few new ones,” he remarked.
“We want the kids who are more keen to go to tournaments and kind of let the ‘cream rise to the top,’” he added, noting a strong contingent of players routinely travel to tournaments in Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and Red Lake.
The club also hosts tournaments during the winter.
While Tkachuk admitted the sport is “performance oriented” like any other one, he stressed the squash club also promotes friendliness and fair play out on the court.
He also noted players can take to the courts at the sportsplex for a recreational or competitive game whenever it’s convenient for them.
“It’s open from around 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. so players can always fit a game into their schedule,” he said.